If relevance of God's word is up to men, then who needs God?
If God's word is not the same yesterday, today, and forever, then how can we trust it? Who's the one that gets to say, well, it's relevant or it's not? Well, evidently, the one who can write the book that gets the most people to buy it. They become the authority. And then people boast about it with a straight face that they read the book. And they try to quote it.
They won't quote scripture. We continue our series on the life and times of people in the Bible. Hezekiah is the person who we are going to consider. The message is entitled, The King Who Cleaned House.
Now, coincidentally, we have a house cleaning coming up for the church. But when I chose the verse to associate with that event, I was careful not to associate it with Hezekiah. Because, you see, Hezekiah is cleaning out the damage left behind by apostates, whereas David, the verse that we referenced from 1 Chronicles, is speaking about instituting caretakers for the house of God.
Very significant. Well, our text is 2 Chronicles chapter 30. And if everything goes as planned, we will be spending all of our time somewhere between 2 Chronicles 28 and 2 Chronicles 32. Our text is 2 Chronicles chapter 30, verse 22. And there we read in verse 22, And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord. And they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.
This is knowing the whole story. This is in the midst of it in this very, very significant, very powerful, very wonderful. He encouraged the Levites who taught the good knowledge of Jehovah. How many pastors are encouraged today to preach the good word of God? How many are discouraged from preaching the good word of God?
How many have their handlers tell them that they've got 20 minutes to get to it? It's not what the Bible teaches anywhere. Quite the contrary. As I mentioned, this text brings us into the midst of this great revival by Hezekiah, his zeal for God, his disdain for the false gods of his father, his own father, and the people who helped him ruin the nation. He is another, yet another, hero of our faith, though he's not a hero by many today. By their standards, mainly right now, the flavor of choice is the emergent church. It's not a single church. It is a collection of churches who really don't want to hear what God has to say. But they want to feel good about themselves, and they want you to feel good about yourself, but they really don't care what God feels.
They are more concerned with how they feel. My outline is to briefly discuss the text, our text, the relevance of it, the refusal of Hezekiah to settle for less, and the reality of God to the king. The idea being that we Christians, we observe such a man from Scripture, or characters from Scripture, and we learn from them, we are encouraged by them, we get flashbacks of it during the week.
I mean, there's enough things to have that are negative when it comes to flashbacks. How about some righteous ones? How about when a point from the pulpit is made, and you're doing something, and it comes back, and you are invigorated and strengthened by it? He encouraged the spiritual leaders so that the faith within the land would prevail through the reformation. Not the reformation of the reformers of Europe, the Martin Luther's and such, but the reforms that he had instituted to bring back true worship to the people of God and the land that God had given them. In other words, he was sick of the treatment that God's name received by apostates and their supporters, and he decided now that he was king, he was going to do something about it right away, and he did. To me, these lessons, they do not get old, because not only are they always relevant, but they are becoming increasingly relevant.
I was thinking about the Valley of Megiddo, from Mount Megiddo, looking at the valley, then looking at it from Mount Carmel. The Jews, their strategy today, the IDF, the Israeli Defense Force, it is a defense force because they have no plan for the invasion of other countries. However, their defense strategy is to invade the other countries, very wise, very shrewd. They say, look, we've only got this little piece of land, and if we're going to be attacked, we're going to take the fight to the other guy and fight on his backyard. We're not going to fight here. And they've pulled it off, been very successful.
I love it. It's God giving them not only the wisdom, but the ability to pull it off. There have been setbacks, of course, but in the end, they prevail. But looking at that valley, the day is coming when they will not be able to take the fight to the enemy. The enemy will storm into their land, and had it not been for Jesus Christ's return on the Mount of Olives, they would be wiped out. My point is, that valley is becoming increasingly relevant on the prophetic clock. So is apostasy. It is becoming increasingly relevant because of all of the vehicles to communicate, which is the very thing the apostates are spinning around on God. They're saying, no, we have better understanding of each other now. Could you just get out of the way with your scripture?
We still want your salvation, by the way. Reducing God to being a slave is what it ends up being. At 25 years of age, Hezekiah becomes king, and the restoration begins. Verse 1 of 2 Chronicles 29, Hezekiah became king when he was 25 years old, and he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem.
And right away, as I mentioned, he goes to work on this. I'm sure he lines up the people that are on his side, and he begins to institute that which God wanted him to do, what God wanted his father to do. Listen to this from 2 Kings 18, which is a parallel account of these events in Chronicles. 2 Kings 18 verses 4 and 6, He, Hezekiah, removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made. For until those days, the children of Israel burned incense to it and called it Nahushtan.
It's a brass thing. Lightly, he was saying, this is nothing. He trusted in Jehovah, God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were born before him, for he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord God commanded Moses. Moses' word never became irrelevant to this king. Regardless of all of the years that had passed, the word of Moses was the word of God, and it was relevant right then, right now. And of all the kings of Judah, since the kingdom split, none lived up to this name. Josiah had not enough time, I think is part of the idea, because certainly Josiah was an exemplary king. But, looking at the life of these men of God in Scripture, we say, well anyone can start the race, but can they finish?
The answer is yes, absolutely they can finish. But the apostate does not finish. And the apostate, the one who falls from the faith, or the heretic, who doesn't fall out of the faith, stays in it but has fallen nonetheless. And still wants to be counted amongst the righteous, often times.
They fail in the race because it's their choice. Deuteronomy 28 14, so you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right, to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. Well this is what we see Hezekiah doing, and grabbing the people, and they're going with him. They could have assassinated him, but thank God they were sick of the years of Ahaz. Proverbs 4 27, do not turn to the right or to the left, remove your foot from evil.
That's how you stay the course, that's how you finish the race. One of the things that Hezekiah had for him, and this is one of those bullet points in the life and times of the people of the Bible, what did he have going for him? David was his hero. He had a man in his life from Scripture who he held in high esteem, who he could identify with, and who he followed because that man followed the Lord.
We don't have anywhere near the time it would take to bring all of this out. You have to pore over the Scriptures in Isaiah, and in Chronicles, and in Kings to get that from Hezekiah. But there is one track here in 2 Chronicles, it talks about how he reinstituted the Levites in temple worship.
After they cleaned out the house, they brought the musicians in, it says they gave them loud instruments. They wanted to feel the worship, and he mentions David's name here time and time again. It says, and he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord, with cymbals and stringed instruments, with harps according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king's seer, and of Nathan the prophet, for thus was the commandment of Jehovah by his prophets. You see, he puts David's name there, and he brings right there with him the men of God. And in the life of King Hezekiah, what prophet was right there, holding his hand at the doorstep of death? Isaiah.
So that he got 15 years extension on his life. It says the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. And then it goes on and it says, and when the burnt offering began, the song of Jehovah also began with the trumpets, and with the instruments of King David of Israel. And then it continues, so all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, the trumpeters sounded, all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped. Moreover, King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the Lord with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang with praises, with gladness, and they bowed their heads and they worshiped. In the midst of this, they get the temple right, they miss the time of the Passover, so they celebrate the Passover the next month, a violation of the law of Moses. In addition to that, the priests weren't ready to offer the sacrifices, so the Levites had to be brought in. And the people weren't yet ceremonially clean, so Hezekiah goes to the Lord and asks permission and God says, okay, do it, contrary to the law. These are all pictures of grace in that Hezekiah is a type of Jesus Christ. There came another time on the Passover when Christ was dying for us that they were sticklers of the insignificant things. We won't dare go into Pilate's house on the Sabbath, but we'll kill an innocent man on the cross in front of everybody. Swallowing camels, gagging on gnats, something that all of us are susceptible to. And so that's the text, that's some of what's surrounding this.
He encouraged all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of Jehovah, but now the relevant issue. To you who attend this church and many others who we know listen to the CDs and the messages on the internet or wherever we are able to broadcast them, these sorts of messages are common. They may be so common that you may get a little dull if you're not careful. You do not remain in the spirit. Oh, I heard that. I knew that. You didn't know that before you got here, some of you, but now you've got it. Is it getting dull to you?
And if it is, you have to consider what's going on. But there are other churches where they do not have the word of God held high at all. Some in that group may say they do, but they don't. They've turned from God's word. The teaching of the good knowledge is not something so good to them. They want to always hear about themselves from the pulpit rather than God. You know, there are those sick bay singers.
They can only sing songs about their hurt. But when it comes to worshipping full out the magnificent of the Lord, the magnification of the Lord, the exaltation of the Lord, they really don't get moved by that so much. They want to hear how God loves them no matter what, and that's really the extent of what they want to hear. There are some like that when it comes to the pulpit, too. They only want to hear about the things that are going to make them, that promise them, green pastures. They don't want to hear about them having to pick up their cross, but they're fine with Jesus being on it. Those under the spell of such polished heretics and apostates such as Rick Warren and Rob Bell, if you don't know who they are, good. If you do know who they are, keep your sword sharp. Because they have exchanged, and they are very verbal on this, they have put it in writing, they have put it on video, they have put it on audio, they are very clear with this statement.
I'll tell you in a minute why they don't seem to be clear, but they are clear. That cultural revelance is what matters, not scripture alone, not solo scripture, not thus saith the Lord, but cultural relevance. I have a quote here from Rob Bell who does not believe in hell, oh well. He doesn't believe hell exists.
Hell's response is, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck. I mean, it's like you've got to be kidding me. But anyway, in a recent YouTube video, I grabbed this off of a site commenting on his YouTube video. I could not watch the video. In a recent YouTube video promoting his new book, title omitted by me, he begins the video by describing the car he had when he was 20, a four-door Delta 88, it's an Oldsmobile. He and his friends called the sled. He goes on to explain that Oldsmobile factories had to shut down because the car company couldn't keep up with the times. He continues, I tell you about the sled, that's that Oldsmobile, for a growing number of people in our modern world, God is a bit like the Oldsmobile. Things have changed. We have more information and technology than ever.
We are interacting with a broader, more diverse range of people than ever. And the tribal God, the only one many people have ever heard of, appears more and more small and narrow and irrelevant. And in some cases, just plain mean.
And other times, not that intelligent. Bell then goes on to give examples of influential Christian leaders teaching on controversial topics such as beliefs that women should not be leaders in the church. All homosexual people go to hell, which we don't believe. We don't believe all homosexuals go to hell.
We believe impenitent homosexuals go to hell, just like impenitent car thieves or decent people or anybody else. He continues, and that God created the earth in a literal six days. Ooh, we shouldn't preach that. God couldn't create the world in six days.
He probably did it in like five and a half and just rounded it off to six anyway. But anyway, this is a problem, he argues, that over the last 20 years of being a pastor, big deal. I've been pastor longer than that, so I outrank you. He continues, he continually has seen people with a growing sense that their spirituality is in some vital and yet mysterious way central to who they are as a person. Now I don't know if you can cut through all this nonsense, but I'm sure many of you will go look at the video and that's fine.
I mean, do your research, get your ducks in a row, trust but verify. What he's saying is the church and the scripture is not relevant. It needs to be rethought. We're smarter after all than the people of the Bible. The scripture doesn't change. Isaiah 48, the grass withers, the flowers fade, the word of God is forever. This on the heels of him saying, flesh is like grass, it perishes, what do you know? Jesus, heaven and earth will pass away, but in no way will my words pass away.
Not a jot or a tittle will go away. Then, they enjoy reputations of being Christian pastors by a single declaration. That's why they get away with it. They make this declaration at some point or another. Not in this guy's case, but let's take Rick Warren for example.
I believe that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ, he'll say. Then he will proceed to contradict everything he just said with that statement, but he's already got the crowd. They've checked the box. Oh, he's okay, he's one of us.
Whew, he's one of us. Doesn't matter what he says now. These are the kind of smoke and mirrors they are using to lead the church into apostasy at a rate unprecedented, and they're getting away with it. Where are the pastors ready to clean house?
Where are the Christians ready to stand up and keep their house clean from such things as this? These men should never be consulted as men of God. Going by their own words, which I don't have time or desire to waste anymore telling you about.
But that's what you've got to watch out for. They make these declarations that are central to our faith. We then fall asleep. They then continue from that point forward without honoring the scripture. Its demands, its prohibitions cause others to drink the Kool-Aid. If relevance of God's word is up to men, then who needs God? If God's word is not the same yesterday, today, and forever, then how can we trust it? Who's the one that gets to say, well, it's relevant or it's not?
Well, evidently, the one who can write the book that gets the most people to buy it. They become the authority, and then people boast about it with a straight face that they read the book, and they try to quote it. They won't quote scripture.
When you give a message like this and you name names, you run the risk of people accusing you. I've got the whole of scripture on my side. In 2 Chronicles 29, verses 4 and 5, we read about the re-established leadership. 2 Chronicles chapter 29, verses 4 and 5. Hezekiah, in the beginning of his cleansing of the house of God, he says, then he brought in the priest and the Levites and gathered them in the east square, and said to them, hear me, Levites, now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord, the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. Take the junk out of God's house. Okay, so if you can see men physically doing this, you're fine with that.
We're all fine with that. But what about when they stand in their pulpit and they spiritually take the rubbish out? What happens when they fortify their people to not put up with this?
I don't care if it's a loved one or not. If you love them, stand up to them. If you hate them, then lie to them. Isn't that what the proverb means when it says, faithful are the wounds of a friend, deceitful are the kisses of an enemy? The enemy will lie to you. Good lie, bad lie is not going to tell you the truth because it's not a child of truth. You see, Hezekiah had analyzed the state of the nation, what David had built through the glory of God to what his father and other kings had stripped away in the northern kingdom being gone by this time.
He analyzed the shame of the nation, and he set about how to fix it. Look at 2 Chronicles 29, verses 6. We'll take verses maybe 6 through 9. It says, for our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God. They have forsaken Him and have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord and turned their backs on Him. They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.
Therefore, now listen to this. Therefore, the wrath of the Lord fell upon Judah and Jerusalem, and He has given them up to trouble, to desolation, to jeering, and you see it with your eyes. They're mocking us. They are laughing at us. They are hissing at the people of God because we're not serving Him, but yet we still have His hand.
He says, for indeed, because of this, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity. You've been listening to Cross-Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Pastor Rick is teaching from God's Word each time you tune in.
As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, this teaching is available free of charge at our website. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross-Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can do so at crossreferenceradio.com or search for Cross-Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app store. That's all for today. Join Pastor Rick next time for more character studies right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-03 01:27:54 / 2023-03-03 01:37:17 / 9